* Posts by Martin

827 posts • joined 17 Jan 2008

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Congratulations! You survived the leap secondocalypse

Martin
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Happy

You've got it wrong. You actually got a second of your life twice. You had an extra second in bed.

Not quite the extra hour we get in October, but every little helps.

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FLICK my FLINT and SNIFF my TREE on the streets of Naples

Martin
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WTF?

Re: Another hazard of Naples

So......

This means [Vesuvius] has not been able to let off er... steam for 66 years and may be bottling something up pretty big, and it's 50-or-so year blast cycle is overdue now.

And therefore...

We went for a walk around the crater.

Well, all I can say is, you're braver than I am !

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'Lemme tell you about my trouble with girls ...' Er, please don't, bro-ffin

Martin
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Re: He has a point, though...

I've known women burst into tears at comments which would barely have raised an eye-brow if aimed at a guy.

I've also known men get sulky and defensive about the mildest of criticisms. But so long as they don't cry, that's all right, is it?

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Denon delivers low-cost DTS:X AV kit. Finally Dolby Atmos gets some competition

Martin
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Happy

Re: Meanwhile

And for extra quality sound, drop the phone into a pint glass.

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Boffins weigh in to perfect kilogram quest with LEGO kit

Martin
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Happy

Re: But

For example the metre is the length travelled by light in vacuum during a time interval of 1/299792458 of a second and a second is 9192631770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom.

If you were quoting those from memory, I'm impressed.

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Martin
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Headmaster

Re: Interesting

Not Mecanno. Nor yet Mechanno, as suggested a little further down.

Meccano.

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Remake, remodel: Toshiba Chromebook 2

Martin
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Re: Please have mercy...

Netbooks were originally small cheap computers (SCCs, El Reg used to call them), which were supplied without Windows; instead they had a basic version of Linux installed on them. They had SSDs to improve boot speed and, of course, limited storage. The first real netbook, I think, was the EEE701; another early one was the Acer Aspire One. They were around £250, which was pretty cheap at the time.

These machines were quite successful - to the extent that Microsoft decided that they were a threat to them. I may have the precise facts wrong here - let someone who knows better correct me - but my understanding was that they enabled a very basic version of Windows 7 to be installed on similar machines at a very low price. This meant that people were able to get Windows boxes at a similar price level - normally with larger, non-SSD boxes.

Now, what SHOULD have happened is that demand increased and the prices would drop. What actually happened was that the Windows boxes sold well (familiar) and the Linux boxes didn't. But what then also happened was that people found the boxes didn't run Windows very well - after all, they were not particularly powerful machines. So netbooks got an undeserved reputation of not being very useful. The prices also never did drop - two, three years later, they were still the same basic spec, for £250.

And then the iPad came along and everyone thought they wanted tablets. So bye-bye to Netbooks.

The Chromebook is an attempt to reinvent the netbook concept. It has more chance of succeeding as (a) people understand that you can't easily get Windows on them, and they are not designed for Windows. They don't even have the same keyboard layout: (b) tablets mean that people are now used to the idea that you don't HAVE to have Windows, so long as it works; and also people have realized that tablets are all very fine, but most of the time, a keyboard is better: (c) they are built to start quickly, be secure and restart quickly. None of this Windows lark of installing patches and rebooting - which with an old netbook could take up to half an hour! (d) they are supported by a name that people know and trust (I know, I know, but people do trust Google).

I loved the original concept of netbooks, and I was sorry to see them die.

I love Chromebooks even more, and in our family we use, most of the time, nothing else.

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Martin
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WTF?

Re: Your wish is granted.

Hmm.

Both msknight and I have been downvoted. Who could have done that?

1) Chromebook fanboi who is deeply offended by the suggestion that anything else should run on a Chromebook?

2) Militant windows user who thinks no laptop should have anything else but the beloved Microsoft on it?

Apart from that, I can't see anything particularly upsetting about what either of us said.

Oh, well.

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Martin
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Happy

Your wish is granted.

https://github.com/dnschneid/crouton

I use it all the time - and it's very handy to be able to switch from Linux back to the "standard" Chromebook.

Disclaimer - I'm just a very happy user of Crouton.

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We stand on the brink of global cyber war, warns encryption guru

Martin
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Re: Just as well...

That sounds like a question for Randall Munroe...

https://what-if.xkcd.com/

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Wearable fitness tech: Exercising your self-motivation skills

Martin
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Headmaster

Re: Talk about...

...loose weight...

Is that when your beer belly wobbles?

Loose - not tight.

Lose - mislay.

Sigh.

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BRAIN STORM: Nine mislaid cerebra found near railway line in New York

Martin
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Happy

Article about missing brains...

And the sponsored link at the bottom says: What does the next-generation data centre look like?

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Why voice and apps sometimes don't beat an old-fashioned knob

Martin
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Thumb Up

Re: UI changes

Hear bloody hear.

I have a Logitech Harmony Touch controller.

I recently replaced my amplifier, so I had to reprogram it. Not a problem - except that it decided it would also change the user interface to the latest greatest version. It's now somewhat worse to use that it used to be - and the first few times we used it, it was a serious pain in the arse until we found out where everything was.

Kids love things changing all the time - they are used to it. We old farts like to be able to pick something up and it works the same today as it did yesterday. Is that so much to ask?

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Wheely, wheely mad: Petrolheads fume over buggy Formula One app

Martin
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Re: F1 the dullest sport on TV?

As always, it's a matter of understanding.

I just don't get baseball. I don't even understand the rules. So, to me, baseball is boring on TV.

But I get cricket and I understand the rules. So I enjoy watching it.

I used to enjoy watching "The Master Game" which was chess on TV. But I can well understand why others would find it mind-numbingly boring.

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Belgian telco prepares to tear out last of nation's phone boxes

Martin
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Or how about phone charging centres?

Just somewhere you could recharge your phone for ten minutes - enough to get it working again to phone home or a taxi.

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Mobiles at school could be MAKING YOUR KID MORE DUMBER

Martin
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WTF?

Re: Back in the day ...

Seriously. If you don't know how transistors work, you'll never really understand computers.

Oh, come on.

I have been working with computers for over forty years. I have written in programming languages from assembler on minicomputers and microcomputers to Python and Perl.

I have written software for theatre lighting equipment and coin mechanisms - all of which needed a real understanding of the hardware behind the software I was writing.

I've written disc operating systems from the chip level upwards.

I have written software for bespoke hardware, working in tandem with the hardware engineer to create a working system - me debugging and patching the software, him debugging and cutting and soldering links to ICs on the board.

By any reasonable standards, I understand computers.

But I have no fucking idea how a transistor works. I just know it does.

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Back to the Future: the internet of things as imagined in 1985

Martin
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Thumb Down

Re: But it *must* be wonderful

Urgh. Blue LEDs.

I bought a useful 4-way usb charger from Maplin. It's great - plenty of power to charge four phones or Kindles - means I can take it on holiday and only have one adaptor instead of four. But the blue LED is so bright, it literally illuminates the whole room - enough to make it impossible to sleep.

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The Apple Watch: THROBBING STRAP-ON with a knurled knob

Martin
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Happy

Unstinting praise?

That article wasn't unstinting praise.

THIS is unstinting praise.

For example:-

...raw specifications (18% thinner than last year's 4S, 20% lighter, 12% less volume) don't explain how it seems to float in the hand, and how typing or swiping feels like touching the very pixels.

El Reg - learn from a master!

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Martin
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Re: The box epitomises why I don't Apple

And six months after that it'll be

Look at me!!

Hmmm, you've got one too.

Oh, look, you've still got last year's model.

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Martin
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Happy

Too smart for what I need.

I like the new Shinola advert:- A watch so smart it can tell you the time just by looking at it.

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Grandmaster FLUSH: Chess champ booted for allegedly cheating with iPod app in the loo

Martin
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Unhappy

Re: I'm confused (yet again)

A chess program on a phone would probably beat most people these days.

There are at least three free chess engines that run on mobile phones that are good enough to beat ALL casual players (people that just play occasionally, and don't go to a club) and 99% of most serious players.

Which is a bit depressing occasionally. Like I said, twenty years ago I was a county player, before I suddenly realized I had better things to do with my time. I'd still beat most casual players without breaking into a sweat - but I can't beat my phone; I rarely even draw.

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This post has been deleted by a moderator

Martin
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Re: I'm confused (yet again)

OK, I'm not a grandmaster, but I used to be a county level player. So I know a bit about this.

If I had been playing a serious game, and the position was tricky, it would have been very useful to be able to adjourn to the loo with a pocket set to analyse the position properly, moving pieces around. (I've never done it, but I'm sure people have).

Nowadays, if you can disappear into the loo with a smartphone, you're doing the same - only with something that can analyse much more accurately and quickly than you can. Computers are particularly good at sharp, tactical positions, where a slight mistake can mean your position falls apart.

A GM, with a smartphone to help, playing another GM, would have an edge. Not enough to win every time, but enough to significantly improve his chances.

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You want disruption? Try this: Uber office raided again, staff cuffed

Martin
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Re: Cartels...

I think the difference is that the perception in New York is that you're not actually safer in a licensed taxi than you are in an unlicensed one; the cars don't seem to be well maintained, the drivers don't seem to be regulated. (It may not be true - I'm talking about perception). Hence, Uber is popular in New York - you can get cheaper fares.

Whereas in London (and presumably Amsterdam) the perception is that you definitely ARE safer - the taxis ARE well maintained; the drivers ARE regulated.

Personally, I would never use Uber.

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New dirt-cheap Chromebooks: Team Google keeps jackboot on throat of PC titans

Martin
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Re: Yet, still worthless!

Ah. Silly me. I'd misread your original post.

You're comparing a tablet (with no keyboard) with a Chromebook (with a reasonable keyboard attached). Not quite what I'd call like-for-like.

Call me and my family old fashioned, but we like keyboards. I really don't think my daughter would be able to do her school essays on a tablet.

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Martin
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Re: Yet, still worthless!

Thanks to Intel's new Atom processors and Microsoft's licensing policy changes, actually you can now get a similarly priced Windows tablet with a full OS version that performs better and runs more software for about the same price as a Chromebook these days...

Examples?

And even so, it'll still need regular patching which will mean a reboot cycle measured in minutes, rather than the less than 15 seconds which is the norm on a Chromebook.

Not forgetting standard Windows cruft, which slows your system down over time....which also doesn't happen on a Chromebook. My 4-year-old Samsung still zips along.

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Martin
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Happy

Re: If any of these devices

If not, they'd better not bother because I will certainly not buy them.

I don't think they won't bother just because you're not going to buy them. Basically, you're not the target market.

But I am. I'm an unrepentant geek, I'm running Crouton on one of my Chromebooks, which I find very useful. But I love the fact that I can pick up a Chromebook, open it and use it. And so does the rest of my family. My daughter uses hers all the time.

For 99% of users it's does all they need (web browsing, and mail and simple documents). For the 1%, it doesn't work. And you're one of the 1%. Fine.

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Anti-gay Indiana starts backtracking on hated law after tech pressure

Martin
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Re: Its miy butt not thine

Paedophilia involves children, who are by definition non-consenting. It's also illegal.

Bestiality also involves non-consenting creatures, and is also illegal.

Homosexuality is legal, and involves consenting adults. It's rather different. It doesn't float my boat, but I have no objections to others doing it. And if they want to hold hands in public, like any other couple, why shouldn't they?

If a homosexual found heterosexual couple behaviour distasteful, to the extent that he walked out of a restaurant, wouldn't you call him a bigot? (Perhaps you wouldn't...)

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Martin
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FAIL

Re: Its miy butt not thine

"Anyone who disagrees with you is a bigot? The bigot is you. Learn some respect for others."

It's not a matter of disagreeing with me.

If the behaviour of a couple doesn't bother you if they are heterosexual, but the same behaviour bothers you if they are homosexual, then you are demonstrating that you are a bigot.

I'll respect you when you demonstrate you've earned respect - not just because you demand it.

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Martin
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Re: Leave people alone

You've made a lot of unsupported accusations against the gay community there.

Any actual evidence?

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Martin
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WTF?

Re: Its miy butt not thine

"Try having 2 of them doing it next to you at a table in a restaurant. It happened to me recently - 2 guys slobbering all over each other and holding hands, etc. Made me feel physically sick. Needless to say I rapidly took my business elsewhere."

Simple question. Would it have bothered you if they were a heterosexual couple?

If yes, then it was probably inappropriate behaviour, and you could have asked the manager to intercede.

If no - then you're just a bigot.

Out of curiousity, how do you feel about mixed-race couples?

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UN inflicts 10,000 flat pack IKEA shelters on Iraq - WITHOUT TOOLS

Martin
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Happy

Not quite what I thought it meant.

I imagined loads of IKEA flat-pack shelters, with all the bits except the hexagonal key you need to put them together.

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Google throws a 180 on its plans for Dart language

Martin
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Coat

Can't resist a joke.

It's the local darts championship. The champion goes up to the oche, and the commentator is ready.

He throws a treble-top.

"SIXTY!!"

Next, a single twenty.

"EIGHTY!!

The third dart hits the wire, bounces out, crashes through a nearby window and hits a passing nun right between the eyes.

"ONE NUN DEAD AND EIGHTY!!!!"

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Drug drone not high enough: Brit lags' copter snared on prison wire

Martin
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Headmaster

Re: *shakes head*

Moron's on the inside, moron's on the outside and moron's ignoring the whole thing.

Morons. Not moron's. Really, that is pretty basic. I'd expect even a moron to get that one right.

Sigh.

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My self-driving cars may lead to human driver ban, says Tesla's Musk

Martin
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Happy

Re: Top Gear won't like it!

If driverless cars is the cost of getting Jeremy Clarkson off our screens for good, I for one will welcome it.

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Sir Terry remembered: Dickens' fire, Tolkien's imagination, and the wit of Wodehouse

Martin
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Hmmm...

I would actually NOT recommend starting with The Colour of Magic. My justification for this is that it's the only one I've read, and it just didn't do anything for me. I've said this to many Terry Pratchett fans and they have all, to a man (or woman), said "Well, it's actually not particularly good compared to the later ones. Perhaps you should try one of the others." Small Gods certainly came up as a recommendation.

I've never got round to trying one of the others. Perhaps I will now.

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Panda antivirus labels itself as malware, then borks EVERYTHING

Martin
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FAIL

Testing?

OK- false positives sometimes happen. And every virus program has had some issues.

But to detect your own program as malware indicates some pretty sloppy regression testing.

I for one would be very reluctant to install anything by Panda again.

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So You've Been Publicly Shamed, Style and The Buried Giant

Martin
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Re: :(

Which is why, when a new novel comes out by a writer I admire very much (like Ishiguro) I avoid the reviews like the plague. I'm going to read the book no matter what the reviews say - I'd rather come to it completely fresh, and not be influenced by other people's opinions. And I certainly don't want the ending given away.

I would have been very upset if I had read this review before reading the book.

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Broadband routers: SOHOpeless and vendors don't care

Martin
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Unhappy

What is missing from this article is...

...what can we do about it?

As it stands, this is an article which says router security is awful, gives a few reasons why it might be happening, and then says someone ought to do something - but gives no suggestions as to who that someone ought to be, or what that something should be.

Globally - are there any groups out there trying to improve things?

Individually - what are the basic recommendations (apart from the obvious one of changing the default password to something safer)? Do you assume that if you're using vanilla OpenWRT, you're going to be safer? Are there manufacturers that consistently demonstrate a lack of security - or are they all bad?

Come on, El Reg - don't just whinge about the problem - suggest some solutions!

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Samsung Galaxy Note Edge: A side swipe at smartphone design

Martin
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WTF?

Re: Left handed version?

Do you wear girls blouses? Just asking because the buttons are on the other side. No? Why not? We have two hands, do your brain a favour and learn to use them both . I hear it boosts brain power too.

Look, I keep my phone in my left-hand trouser pocket, and nothing else. Hence, I always use my phone with my left hand - even though I am right-handed. It's quicker and easier.

If Samsung want to assume everyone uses their phone in the right hand, that's their problem. But they won't get a sale from me.

And snotty comments like yours make me all the more determined to keep using my phone as I want to use it.

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Is light a wave or a particle? Beaming boffins prove it's BOTH

Martin
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Re: Wrong

...that we can imagine being a bit like waves and/or particles in the macroscopic world.

It's a bit more than that. We can demonstrate that, under certain circumstances, they are behaving exactly the same as waves do, and we can demonstrate that, under other circumstances, they behave exactly the same way as particles do. It's nothing to do with imagination - we can clearly see the results.

But I agree, asking what "really" happens doesn't make much sense.

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Martin
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Re: Either... Or...

Actually, the double-slit experiment, which has been around for a very long time, demonstrates quite convincingly that light exhibits both particle and wave-like properties simultaneously.

Why? I can see that it clearly demonstrates that light exhibits wave-like properties. You can do a very similar experiment with a ripple tank and show the distinctive interference pattern of waves through a double-slit - and you can duplicate those interference patterns with light, very simply.

But how does the double-slit experiment demonstrate that light behaves like particles?

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Get yourself connected: GrovePi+ Starter Kit

Martin
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Happy

Re: @Florida 1920

What has happened to awaken all the Grammar Putins lately?

Awaken? We never sleep....

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Martin
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Headmaster

@future research - in a similar vane?

Vane - blade of a fan, or weathervane

Vein - layer of mineral ore in rock, or blood vessel - hence "in a similar vein" = "in the same sort of way"

You're so vain - Carly Simon

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MP resigns as security committee chair amid 'cash-for-access' claims

Martin
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Facepalm

What I like....

...is the argument put forward, in all seriousness, that it's actually good for MPs to have other jobs apart from their own, as then they can get an idea of what the real world is like, rather than the little insular political world.

What I want to know is, where is this "real world" where people are paid £5000 a day, and can I join it?

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Marconi: The West of England's very own Italian wireless pioneer

Martin
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FAIL

Re: Marconi was one of the BIGGEST FRAUDS in history !

Your statements may or may not be true. I do not have enough evidence either way.

But putting words in CAPITALS doesn't make them any more true.

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Acer: We're still a thing! We're still alive. And we are touting 300M shares

Martin
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WTF?

I've got two Acer Aspire Revo nettops and an Acer Chromebook. I don't think any of them are crap.

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Jaguar F-Type: A beautiful British thoroughbred

Martin
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Re: Fast cars?

Actually, the real problem about the E-Type was the length of the bonnet. I had a Series 1 roadster a few - quite a few! - years ago, and coming up to a T-junction at a country lane with high hedges was a bit exciting. I was sometimes tempted to stop, walk to the front of the car to look right and left and then scamper back again...

But driving up the motorway, and watching the reflection of the bridges run up the bonnet towards you - just gorgeous.

The F-type as reviewed? Meh. I've never seen the point of a hard-top sports car.

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Martin
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Re: If I was stupidly rich...

I'd buy something more practical for shopping and the school run. - that being a Bowler Wild Cat.

So what would you use to go off-road? A Challenger Tank?

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Update - Boffins: COMETS are like FRIED ICE CREAM. Mmm

Martin
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WTF?

Fairy floss?

Here in England, it was always called candy floss when I was a kid. Never heard of fairy floss.

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